Richie Sambora says he made the right decision last year to leave Bon Jovi and spend time with his daughter, Ava, from his marriage to actress Heather Locklear.

He explains, "A girl needs that masculine energy in the house. There's a big jolt of love and happiness, and I dig being a father... We needed each other." He also says he wanted to step out on his own because he missed being a band leader and singer.

Sambora is in New York this week for three shows honoring the late Les Paul at the Iridium -- where Les used to hold his weekly shows. He'll play one show there on Tuesday and two on Wednesday that are being filmed for the PBS series Front and Center.